Friday, June 06, 2008

Gemma’s Hollywood Adventure

I've spent last week bopping around L.A., pitching a TV pilot script based on one of my books and signing at the big huge Book Expo America convention. So much fun! Here’s the recap of my trip:

Day 1:
Drove down to L.A. and pulled up to my hotel holding my breath. I’d booked it online through one of those discount travel sites, so I had no idea what I was getting into. But it's just a couple blocks from Rodeo Drive, so can't bee too bad, right? Oh. My. God. Gorgeous! I truly felt like I had arrived in Beverly Hills. Posh glass doors, smartly dress doorman, bubbling fountains, huge suite, private hot tub, chocolates on my pillow… I could so get used to this.

After unpacking, my manager picked me up to go to my first meeting in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the traffic was horrendous, every street below Sunset at a standstill. Finally we figured out why - it was the night of the Sex and the City movie premier. (How cool! I was in Sex and the City traffic!) Once we finally made it to the restaurant, this uber chic artsy place surrounded by trees and fountains, I had dinner with my manager, a producer, and this woman with an amazing true story that they wanted to develop a TV series around. Let me tell you, she was a crack up! We had such a good time, and I’m really excited about the project. Very chick litty but with a cool, edgy new twist. Can’t wait to get started.

Day 2:
Woke up early and my lovely manager came to pick me up and take me on a whirlwind day of non-stop meetings.

First up was a visit to a big agency. And when I say big, I mean holy-crap-that-whole-freakin-building-belongs-to-them big. Just slightly intimidating. We valet the car, walk in and there’s a reception desk with, not one, but three polished looking receptionists with headset things, who told us to have a seat and they’d let the agent know I was there. So, we cross the marble floor to the marble staircase and sit on one of the sofas in front of the marble tables and watch this modern art projection piece on the marble wall. (See a decorating trend here?) I’m trying not to get dizzy watching the projection art thingie, when my manager nudges me in the arm. I look up. This really hot guy has just walked into the reception room to wait. I stare. And realize I recognize that hot guy. It’s Matthew McConaughey! I try really hard not to pull out my cell phone and take squealy fan-girl pictures of him. (P.S. He is just as gorgeous in person. Tan, blonde, cut, that lopsided adorable smile… crap, I’m drooling again.)

After the agency, we head to a couple of meetings with network and producer types where I feel so incredibly cool that we’re “on the list” to get on the studio lots. These studios are all over town, so we’re driving back and forth through L.A. traffic all day. Let me tell you, there is no better place to people watch. My list of “only in L.A.” sightings:
A hummer parked on someone’s front lawn (at least it wasn’t on cinderblocks)
A billboard for where to buy marijuana (Seriously. With an 800 number and everything.)
A long haired guy in silk robes and love beads sitting on the front lawn of an apartment building, meditating in a cross-legged position… with a cup of Starbucks next to him.
Gotta love this town.

After my meetings, I was beat. I met a friend, mystery author Jon Hargrove, for enchiladas and much needed margaritas at a hot Mexican place in Beverly Hills. We had a great time watching the Lakers come from behind to semi-final victory. (Go Kobe!)

Day 3:
Started the day off with a network meeting, then headed out to the convention center downtown for the Book Expo America, a HUGE book fair. Every kind of book or book gadget you can imagine on display. Tons of free books for the taking everywhere you turn. I was in heaven. I signed copies of ALIBI IN HIGH HEELS at the Dorchester booth, along with fab authors C.L. Wilson and Jennifer Ashley. Some incredibly brilliant person at Dorchester decided it would be a good idea to serve wine during the signing, and we just had a blast! It was so much fun meeting all the booksellers and wonderful to meet some of the Dorchester sales force for the first time.

From the Expo, I jetted out to one last TV agent meeting in Beverly Hills, then over to Chinatown for dinner with my Dorchester peeps. Round trip total miles: 20. Time to travel it: 2 hours. Serious traffic. The homeless guy with the shopping cart on the side of the road was moving faster than I was. No joke.

Day 4t:
After three days of non-stop meetings, I’m ready for a break. I meet up with some of my fun L.A. author friends – Eden Bradley, Shante' Lanay , and Dana Belfry – and we head to Venice Beach for a day of sangrias and people watching. It was an experience to be sure. Some really neat jewelry vendors and funky little boutiques, but the highlight by far was the locals. Some of my favs:

Punk with a pink tricycle (we waited around to see if he would ride it… he never did. Very Disappointing.)
The King of Muscle Beach (Flex for me darling!)
The famous roller skating turban wearing, guitar playing Venice Beach guy!

Day 5:
I pack up and say goodbye to my movie star hotel and drive back to the Expo. I get there right as it opens. Because today, I’m on a mission. There are free books inside, I’ve got a huge trunk in my car - you do the math. I grab two tote bags and scour the booths, filling both so full that I’m about to topple over. (Okay, at one point I did topple over as I reached for a book on the floor. But no one needs to know that…) I drop those books at the car, then race back in for more. At the end of the day, I have six tote bags stuffed to the brim with books. I’m a little giddy. I go back inside one last time to sign books at the RWA booth (which is set up to look like an adorable little Italian café!) with the lovely and talented Miss Sylvia Day. Then, I pack myself up into my car and head out of town (at a crawl, because, of course, there’s traffic).

Day 6:
My arms/shoulders/back are so sore from carrying pilfered books I can’t even lift my arms to my keyboard. Oy. Need a chiropractor pronto. But so worth it for all the great books. Hmm… maybe I’ll just take the day off and read instead…

So, how was your week?

~Trigger Happy Halliday


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful week. I'm so jealous about the book expo though. I would love to go to one.

Unknown said...

Wow! what a great week!!! I would have loved to go to a book expo. Sounded fun. However I was stuck in humity hell Florida, running my gas bill up being the taxi for two little ballernias. We have recital next week so we must practice everyday. It is worth it, they are so darn cute in there tutu's. Anyway!! sounds like you had a great time

Keri Ford said...

Holy craping cow! Next year sign me up as your lackey! I'll tote all those bags of books around, so long as I don't have to drive in that traffic.

Terri Osburn said...

What a week! Sounds fantastic. I'm still freaking out that MATTHEW was righ THERE. LOL! I can't imagine seeing that grin in person. *sigh*

Humidity is up here too, Christina. Here being Virginia Beach. Spent the week dealing with sunburn which is now peeling. Grrrrr....

Glad you had such a super time. And in case you need more than one lackey, add me to the list for next year behind Keri.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I love living vicariously through you. :) My week was absolutely nothing to write home about. Unless you count the flock of plastic pink flamingos that mysteriously turned up in our neighbors' yard. *g*

Christie Craig said...

Okay, I'm so envious of your time in LA. And the Mathew sighting. Ahhh....

Sounds like a great trip.

Crime Scene Christie

Gemma Halliday said...

Kristi - the Expo was fabulous! I'm totally going every year now. My agent commented that it was amazing to have all these people who love books all in one pace. Then again, she said, they were likely the only people in the country that read. Lol!


Gemma Halliday said...

Christine - Sucks about the humidity! That's one nice thing about Cali - it may get well over 100 in the summer, but there's almost no humidity. And we have lots of swimming pools. :)

Need pics of the tutus!


Gemma Halliday said...

Keri, Terrio - you're hired! :) The really smart people brought rolling backpacks and such for their books. I'm wise for next year.


Gemma Halliday said...

Tori - I feel a story behind those flamingos...


Gemma Halliday said...

Thanks, Christie! It as a lot of fun. Looks like I'll be going back down next month for another round of meetings. I find out Mon if I got the chit litty TV writing job or not. Crossing my fingers!


Kathy Bacus said...

Hmmm. Let's compare and contrast our weeks.

Trigger Happy Halliday: Gorgeous hotel, wining and dining and rubbing elbows with Hollywood types, book signings AND Matthew McConaughey.

Bullet Hole: dodging tornadoes, sitting on tree stumps counting red ants and swatting swarms of mosquitoes.


As always, the lowlights of your week beat the heck out of my highlights, Gemma! Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you.

~Bullet Hole~

Gemma Halliday said...

Hugs, Kathy!

Though I can't promise I didn't have any totally blonde moments of my own in Hollywood. I had at least one stick-stiletto-firmly-in-mouth meeting. Luckily, he found my stuttering and faux pas "refreshingly charming". Gotta love that town.


Janice Lynn said...

Ahhh, this girl has always known how to get my attention. Such a tease. ;) So, not only did you have a MM drool fest, but you also got to hang with Cheryl???? Sigh. Now I'm really jealous.

And you so know I would have been whipping out my cell & taking pics...LOL. Being in Nashville I'm used to seeing stars and such around some of the nicer restaurants, so I don't do that as a general rule, but with MM...heck who am I getting? I'd have passed out, hit my head, made a complete fool of myself, and not even recall I'd seen him. *grin*

Eden Bradley-Eve Berlin said...

You really do lead a chick lit life! Luckily, I was part of it last weekend. Venice was a blast and I swear the full freak show was out just for your visit. Turban Man is legendary!
It was great seeing you! I'm just bummed I wasn't around for the Matthew Moment. *sigh*

Jenyfer Matthews said...

MM, free books, and wine at your book signing??? You do lead a glamorous life!!

My weekend has been filled with birthday parties and sports events for the children. No comparison!!

Gemma Halliday said...

Janice - I totally thought of you when I saw MM! I almost had myself convinced it was my duty to run up and hug him just to report back to you how it felt. Lol!


Gemma Halliday said...

It was so good seeing you, Eden! It doesn't happen nearly often enough.

Gemma Halliday said...

Jenyfer - I'll admit, it was hard to see the glamor of hours stuck in traffic. But, overall, it was a fun week. :)


Anonymous said...

The flamingos turned out not to be as mysterious as I'd hoped. Some kids were raising money to go to camp and you had to pay to get rid of the flamingos. Me, I'd have been tempted to keep them. They were so deliciously tacky. *g*

Unknown said...

Wow. What a whirlwind.Definitely on my calendar for next year. Congrats on the series pickup-- you'll need an Eiffel Tower (sex and the city style) handbag to go with your necklace next time you're in LA.

Gemma Halliday said...

you'll need an Eiffel Tower (sex and the city style) handbag to go with your necklace next time you're in LA.

Yes! I like the way you think. ;)

Gemma Halliday said...

Oh,those flamingos so would have been mine. I love those things! Tacky, yes. But they go so well with garden gnomes. hehe...

Anonymous said...

Sure that's why you wanted to run up & hug him. ;) But LOL on you thinking of me. I wouldn't have been able to breathe, much less think. :)